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lighting (and staging) for Democratic response to SOTU speech

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Bob Cole
lighting (and staging) for Democratic response to SOTU speech
on Feb 6, 2019 at 12:09:15 pm

I'd never heard the post-speech pundits talk about lighting before, but last night the PBS broadcast of the Democratic response by Stacy Abrams broke new ground. The host of the panel discussion said "It was so dark!" I'm pretty sure she meant the lighting, not the content.

Staging the "official response" to the State of the Union speech is always challenging. The contrast between the president's dominant position in the packed House chamber and the setting for the official response is always somewhat demeaning to the latter, often sitting in a seemingly empty room behind a desk. They tried hard, but this year, the staging was just weird. Often, political events are staged so that there is a wall of people behind the speaker. But usually, when that is the case, there is also an audience in front of the speaker. I thought this "wall" was distracting and strange. For some reason, I got the mistaken impression for awhile that there were only females back there, because they chose to throw this wall of humans so far out of focus. And -- costume-wise, as well as the key and the lighting on the background people -- it seemed dark.

What did you think? How would you have lit - and staged - this event differently? (And by the way, if you didn't see the telecast, don't rely on the screen grabs -- the ones I've seen have been brightened up!)

Bob C


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